A-Z OF SKIN

Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation

Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation

What causes post-inflammatory hypopigmentation?

Inflammation (such as eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis) and trauma to the skin (such as cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen burns) may cause a temporary lightening of the skin and decrease in pigmentation by affecting the way melanocytes (pigment cells)  work and produce melanin (pigment).

What does post inflammatory hypopigmentation look like?

The condition presents as flat, non-scaly and lighter-than-normal areas of skin.

What other problems can occur with post-inflammatory hypopigmentation?

Although this condition affects men and women equally, it is more pronounced in people with skin of colour (pigmented skin) as the contrast between affected and non-affected skin is more noticeable.

How is post-inflammatory hypopigmentation diagnosed?

The condition is usually diagnosed by means of a physical examination carried out by your dermatologist.

In some cases a skin biopsy may be needed to distinguish this condition from other skin conditions that may have a similar appearance. Acquired hypopigmentation may need to be differentiated from conditions such as pityriasis alba, pityriasis versicolor, vitiligo, lichen sclerosus and scarring.

How is post-inflammatory hypopigmentation treated?

Cosmetic camouflage techniques (such as cosmetic foundations and concealers) can be used to blend the normal and affected skin until the condition resolves.

What is the prognosis/ likely outcome of post-inflammatory hypopigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation is a benign (harmless) process but may have significant cosmetic and psychosocial implications.

The condition usually resolves in weeks to months.

This information has been written by Dr Michelle Rodrigues